Talk about overcoming the sequel aspect of this, and jumping in and making it your own.
“Well, the first part of overcoming the ‘sequelitis’ fear was the fact that I thought the first film was fun, and I enjoyed it. And without sounding like a complete asshole, I thought it was groundbreaking. It took a lot of chances and, in some ways, it was the first horror movie I had seen since Scream that seemed different, that seemed like it was taking some risks and was somehow redefining the genre. So when this one came my way, because I was such a fan of the first movie, I was intrigued.”
We hear there were a lot of rewrites going on while you guys were shooting. Did any of them affect your storyline?
“The rewrites affected it, but not in a bad way. I was at the center of anything that was rewritten about my character. I was the one pushing for it. It wasn’t like people were handing me pages saying, ‘Here, do this.’ It was like, ‘No, this ain’t right, fix it.’”
Have you ever had that much control over a character that you’ve played before?
“At the end of the day, you always have a lot of control. It’s all about preparation. If you’re prepared so much that you know the character better than anyone else, then it’s almost undeniable that you’ll get your way. It’s like Night Shyamalan in The Sixth Sense, he didn’t tell me to go lose 40 pounds, and my goal wasn’t to lose 40 pounds, I just wanted to go suffer like that character. When I walked onto the set that day, I knew the character better than him. He wrote it, but I knew it better because I became it, you know what I mean?”
Were there any big surprises or added twists to the plot that came in the rewrites?
“I added something at the end of the movie. I can’t say what it is, but there was an opportunity for me to bring something back from the first movie that I saw, and no one had really thought of it. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this is a golden opportunity to recreate a similar moment from the first movie and keep that connection to the first movie alive.’ It involved a mask, and we then had to scramble to find this forgotten prop, and they found it. I don’t know if the audience jumped, but it was a good thing.”